Feature Story

While most people are familiar with the link between fossil fuel burning and the release of greenhouse gases, not so many are aware of the role land use management can play in mitigating climate change.

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In a small village approximately four hour’s drive south of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Loas Polyvann, 52, and his wife, Phan Chinda, 46, run a small but successful family business. 

Over the years, the couple’s hard work has paid off. Originally, they sold only fuel, cigarettes and sugarcane juice, and offered a telephone service.  Now, their business is more like a local convenience store, selling everything from toothbrushes and shampoo to groceries and rice.

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"I live on a small island. When storms hit, they damage houses and land and pour saline water into the paddy fields and crops. Already I’ve shifted my home once due to river erosion and it is further in danger because the mighty river Meghna is only one kilometer away." Adition Chandra Das, Rahmanpur, South Sakuchia, Monpura, Bhola 

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At age 56, Vietnamese farmer Luan is still actively working the land. She is also still learning new things and open to fresh ideas.

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Wildlife rangers in South Africa are at the heart of the effort to tackle rhino poaching, undertaking work that is incredibly difficult and dangerous at times. Tasked with tracking poachers and protecting other species at risk of illegal wildlife practices, rangers never know what dangers face them in the field.

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With heavenly beaches, an active volcano with an impressive crater, and the ever-present scents of ylang-ylang, vanilla and clove, the Comoros is an island archipelago located in the Indian Ocean between Africa and Madagascar, known as the “Perfume Islands.”

This is paradise. But climate change is threatening lives and livelihoods, upending traditional agricultural practices, and putting paradise at risk. 

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Walking reluctantly through his wilted eight-hectare maize field, Sililo Musepei waits for a sign that the rains will eventually come.

Usually, he would look for clouds in the sky or birds singing. This time though, he’s anxiously expecting an agro-meteorological advisory from the Zambia Meteorological Department.

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Back in 1929, Sierra Leone served as the headquarters of the British West African Meteorological Services. With independence, the Sierra Leone Meteorological Department was formed. It was one of the most advanced meteorological departments in West Africa, with advanced capacity in weather data collection, analysis and service provision.

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Conserving the global commons can mean grappling with complex issues, studying the science underlying them, and making far-reaching commitments. But it can also involve measuring crabs in a hot village square.

At the end of June, delegates to the Sixth Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly in Da Nang, Viet Nam, did both. After two days of intensive meetings, involving heads of government, ministers, and top scientists and businessmen, a group of them headed off to the nearby Cham Islands to witness conservation, literally, at ground level.

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When William Buco, father of five, moved to Dar-es-Salaam thirty years ago the coastline was unrecognizable to today. He could sit on the beaches and picnic with his friends. Coconut sellers came by with fresh harvests, and newly married couples posed for wedding photographs with the oceanic backdrop. Then the tide turned, and all this began to change.

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